It's people with true integrity who have always been my heroes. The kind of people who stand by their personal beliefs and ethics, even when it's not the easy or popular route to take.
On a personal note, I think of myself as a person striving to live a life of integrity. Getting it right, not always, but most of the time. I have been challenged several times over the years in this respect. Two employment situations in particular come to mind. I stood up for people when it was not the "popular" or easy choice at the time.
It made for some very tough sailing for me, at one place in particular.. They fired a person who had worked there for years and who had been an exemplary employee but not one who was part of the "in" crowd.
Carol (name changed) ran the main office. She was very conscientious about her work. Not a person to allow all the staff on their own whims to go through personal or financial information (which many of them seemed to think was their right) and ran a tight ship in terms of keeping the books balanced etc....From where I was watching, Carol was the key person who kept this organization viable and progressing.
But as is too often the case, she ended up having the tables turned on her and the majority of staff rallying against her. A gang mentality continued to build. It was frightening to watch.
After several weeks of this internal back-stabbing a board meeting was called. All the other hands went up around the table in favor of firing her, including a "born again Christian" who was supposedly Carol's friend and loved to sing hymns throughout the day. Looking rather sheepish and embarrassed as I remember.
My hand stayed down. My convictions remained unchanged. I was not about to be a part of this nasty and uncalled-for dismissal. And as expected, after Carol was gone, the "guns" turned on me, making it difficult to continue to work there, in spite of the fact that I loved my job and needed it financially too.
But whatever challenges I faced after that episode, I felt good about what was the only choice I could make.
As it turned out, the "excellent" replacement employee who was hired after Carol, went on to bilk this organization out of thousands of dollars and was finally arrested. I saw it on the local TV news, years later. A little smile came to my face as I remember. In the long run, they did not come out ahead by getting rid of an honest, hard-working person. But rather, brought this organization to the brink of closure and cast a bad light on how it's operations were then perceived, throughout the community.
Another example that comes to mind when I think of the word integrity. Sealing a contract/agreement with a handshake.I don't know if that ever happens anymore but when I was very young I often remember my dad shaking hands with someone and it was "a deal" with no paperwork required. It was a given then, that was enough. "My word is my bond". I don't remember any of these transactions falling through either.
It's not always easy to take the high road, to stand up for what's right, to speak up for the "underdog". But time after time (and sometimes it can take a very long time) it is "always the right time to do the right thing".
To my readers in the U. S. A.
Your Canadian friends stand with you today.
We will never forget.